Nascent Love (2021 film)

Amore Nascente
NascentLove.png
Worldwide theatrical release poster
Directed byLeonora Gemelli
Produced byFrederica Guzzetta
Vittorio Caravaggio
Written byFiora D'Rossi
StarringOlimpia Carano
Frederico Armani
Giovanna D'Santi
Rosa Verdi
Alessandro Gaetano
Augusto Iezzi
Music byUgo Calvi
CinematographyGiorgio Stanic
Edited byCaterina Sforza
Production
companies
Artemide Studios
Caravaggio Productions
Distributed byCinemundo
Release date
  • 21 October 2021 (2021-10-21) (Etruria)
  • 18 October 2021 (2021-10-18) (World)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryEtruria
LanguageVespasian
Budget€3.8 million
Box office€45.96 million

Nascent Love (Vespasian: Amore Nascente) is a 2021 Etrurian drama film, directed by Leonora Gemelli and written by Fiora D'Rossi. It stars Olimpia Carano, Frederico Armani, Giovanna D'Santi and Rosa Verdi. It follows Sotiriana Lucibello, a high-flying media executive after a brief affair with a Gaullican colleague, in which she becomes pregnant several weeks before Etruria's government instituted a near-total ban on abortion. The film was seen as a repudation of the Etrurian government and the retrograde approach to women's rights.

Production began in late 2020 and continued through to mid-2021. The film was predominately filmed in Faulia and Caoria. Nascent Love first premiered at the 82nd Montecara Film Festival on October 18, 2021, before being released in Etruria on October 21.

Plot

Sotiriana Lucibello (Olimpia Carano), a high-flying and successful executive at a media company is having dinner in a high-end Faulian restraurant with Géo Lefèvre, a colleague from the Gaullican branch of the company. They enjoy one another's company and end the night by having sex in Lucibello's home, Lefèvre returns home to Verlois the next day. The next day at work, Lucibello is startled to find her personal assistant and close friend Maria (Giovanna D'Santi) distressed and crying in the office, consoling her, Lucibello is told Maria’s younger brother, Luigi, has been assaulted in a homophobic attack, which Lucibello blames on the Etrurian government.

Several weeks pass and during a dinner with her mother, Aurelia (Rosa Verdi), Lucibello enters a heated argument after Aurelia expresses support for the government’s announcement that it would pass legislation near outright banning early terminations. Aurelia remarks that Lucibello appears different physically. Lucibello dismisses her mother’s remarks and they part company, leaving Lucibello in tears as she announces to herself that her period is late.

The next morning Lucibello visits a pharmacy to purchase a pregnancy test, on the television screen in the store, the Etrurian president is lauding their plans to ban abortion. Upon returning home, Lucibello discovers she is pregnant and breaks down. She attempts to contact Lefèvre, only for his wife to answer the phone, further distressing Lucibello. Desparate, she contacts Maria and tells her she's pregnant, with Maria being ecstatic over the news. Lucibello conveys her fears that it would jeopardise her career and her worry that she would not be able to raise a child alone. Maria urges her to consider her options and affirms her personal support.

Several days later, Lucibello's anxieties begin to affect her work, with a business deal collapsing due to her rudeness and distracted nature. She is called into the office of the company director, Massimo ( Alessandro Gaetano), who demands to know what is wrong with Lucibello. She informs him of the pregnancy, Massimo responds by taking her hand and asking if she wishes to keep the child, as an illegitimate pregnancy still carries a stigma. Lucibello confirms that she wishes to terminate it, Massimo provides a number for a medical facility that assisted his daughter.

The next day, Lucibello leaves work for the clinic only to find that it is swamped by a pro-life protest, fearing she’d be identified she returns home distressed. Running out of options and noting that the ban is fast approaching, Lucibello visits a state-run medical clinic to secure her early termination. To her surprise, her meeting is with a doctor and Catholic priest, who both urge her to reconsider her decision, with the Priest proposing putting the baby up for adoption. As she leaves in anger, the doctor meets her outside and passes her the number of a colleague but warns her that time is running out.

Overwhelmed by the pressures of work and her situation, Lucibello leaves Faulia to visit her brother, Simone (Frederico Armani). He criticises her for being selfish and urges her to reconsider terminating the pregnancy, going as far as to urge her to marry her ex, who still loves her, before berating her for bringing the family into disrepute. Distraught, Lucibello flees his home and returns to Faulia, drinking heavily, she shuts down for several days in her apartment.

Regaining her senses, Lucibello is shocked to watch on the news that the government has passed legislation banning abortion across Etruria. Her shock is rocked by her mother, Aurelia, calling her and screaming down the phone at the news she wants to terminate her child. Her mother triumphantly reminds her that she will now be unable to terminate, and looks forward to meeting her first grandchild. She hangs up on her mother and calls the number provided by the doctor.

After meeting the colleague (Augusto Iezzi), who states that he can no longer provide her a service, she returns home and searches on the internet how to conduct an early termination at home. After a moment of distress, in which she rails at being forced to choose, she enters the bathroom and shuts the door.

The film ends with Maria opening the front door and calling out for Sotiriana to silence. The TV is blaring images of the Etrurian president celebrating the end of abortion in the country and proclaiming a restoration of family values. She searches the messy and unkept home, before entering the bathroom where she shrieks in horror.

Cast

Olimpia Carano, Giovanna D'Santi and Rosa Verdi star as the leading female characters.

Production

Leonora Gemelli directed the film and described it as a "tale of what happens when women see their freedom and control ripped away."

Fiora D'Rossi, who wrote the script for Nascent Love, penned the work in early 2020 in response to the ban on abortion that year, however, she reported to La Donne, that she struggled to find production companies eager to turn her work into a film due to its controversial themes and plotline. However, in March, Artemide Studios bought the rights to the film and immediately set about producing the film. In June 2020, it was announced that Olimpia Carano Frederico Armani and Rosa Verdi had been cast as Sotiriana, Simone and Aurelia respectively, and that Leonora Gemelli would direct the project. In July, it was confirmed that Giovanna D'Santi had been cast as Maria and principal photography began that month.

Filming began in the summer of 2020 in Faulia and Caoria and concluded in January 2021. Post-production and editing began in February 2021 and was concluded by April. Lucibello's home in Faulia was confirmed to be the personal residence of Vittorio Caravaggio, one of the producers, it was used due to Gemelli's love for its contrasting modernity and traditional style, which she described as an "excellent portrayal of life for Etrurian women."

Gemelli, who worked closely with D'Rossi, sought to portray Sotiriana's situation as realistically as possible relied upon obstetricians and women who under-went early terminations during the period the film is set. D'Rossi and Carano both remarked that this process as "haunting and tragic." The decision to include stock footage of Etrurian politicians, including President Francesco Carcaterra was a "heavy one", but despite concerns by the producers, they relented. In August 2021, D'Rossi and Gemelli both remarked to Il Messegero di Aventino, "this is a real-life story, it has real names and faces to it, he [Carcaterra] is one of them."

The film utilises Gemelli's characteristic use of Long takes, the scene where Lucibello visits the state-run medical clinic is 18 minutes long and shoots Lucibello alone for the entire duration, the final scene in which Maria searches the home is centred solely on the television showing President Carcaterra give a speech about family values, hiding the physical reaction of Maria as she discovers Lucibello.

Nascent Love is the first major Etrurian film production to be directed, written and produced by women.

The movie soundtrack was produced by Ugo Calvi, whom after lengthy discussions with Gemelli decided to produce a score that reflected the growing "distress of the lead character", which warm and joyful tones at the beginning of the film, before descending into a dark manic score in the final act.

Themes

The film's writer, Fiora D'Rossi as part of the marketing campaign remarked that three defining themes of the screenplay were "modern life for women; the choice between career and motherhood, religion and family." D'Rossi was eager to avoid claims that the screenplay as a theatrical denounciation of Etruria's government and rightward drift politically and socially, saying, "the issues and themes of the movie are universal for all women in the advanced economic world, not just Etruria. It just so happens that Etruria provides a stark and profound backdrop for those issues."

Upon release, critics noted that the film drove through starker themes. Lucilla Alba-Sorrentino, the lead critic at La Donna, Etruria's most circulated women's magazine wrote, "while D'Rossi carefully manages the thematic nature of the film outside the screenplay itself, with respect to her, the film drives through a more deeper theme than modern female life, it drives through the theme of the conflict between modern female life with the reactionary and often culturally repressive and restrictive nature of tradition found in society as well as our families."

The left-leaning newspaper Il Popolo wrote in a specific thematic review noted:

what makes Nascent Love such an artistic wonder is that while to many a viewer the themes flashing before our eyes, much like Sotiriana's life surely did in those final scenes, are firmly rooted in a woman's place in modern life, behind it and hidden, is something much starker. What is presented through Sotiriana's mother, Aurelia and the near-omnipresent sight of some form of Tribune-ness, is not Etruria's descent backward into ultra-conservative Catholicism, but rather its ascent over the march toward modernity. It has always been present, its now the dominant feature of our lives.

Release

Box office

The film became the second highest grossing of 2021 in Etruria, earning €58.3 million, behind Sotto il Sorriso di Sol, compared to a €3.8 million budget. In other territories it grossed €18.13m, leading to a total box office revenue of €76.43m, the highest grossed independent film directed by Leonora Gemelli.

Critical response

The film proved highly controversial in Etruria, with the left-leaning press praising the film plot, Carano and Verdi's acting, while the right-wing press denounced the film as a false portrayal of female life in Etruria. The film was also criticised by members of the Tribune Movement which was depicted through stock footage via news broadscasts and shots of newspapers. The controversial response to the film was reflected by the review aggregator CinEtruria, recording the film having a 62% approval rating based on 396 reviews, with an average rating of 6.10/10.

Several critics named the film among the best of 2021, including Stefania Giannotti of Il Popolo, and Sotiriano Enrico of CineEtruria. Writing for Il Popolo, Gianotti said, "this film is perhaps one of the greatest in terms of acting skill, the chemistry and passion of Carano, D'Santi and Verdi is unmatched in other productions this year. The film is perhaps the most tragic, saddening, but needed." Enrico wrote for CineEtruria, "this is without question the greatest production by Gemelli of her career, while Carano is surely elevated to the pantheon of true talent. This film is a testament to their skill, just as much as it is an inditement of Tribune Etruria.” Isabella Ralli, writing in the Posta Stazzona said, "the camera shots, the score, the characters, their portrayers all culminate together into producing one of the greatest tragedies of the century so far. Nascent Love is without question one of the darkest films to be produced, that turns the lead and the viewer from one of joy to utter dispair by the end. It is the finest examples of a film depicting the pysche and torment of all women who lack complete control over their lives."

On the otherhand, the film was criticised by Leonardo Bessia at the Telegrafo Solariano who described the film as a "grotesque distortion of life for Etrurian women, rather than serving as a martyr for the female cause, Lucibello serves as a warning to women who would allow themselves to sink so far down into despair over life's greatest gift. The film's depiction of her dismissal of adoption for her unborn child is not a warning, but the perfect image of a modern belief system that condemns the unborn." Bessia awarded the film 1/5 starts.

Another right-leaning newspaper, Occulus described the film as a "propaganda piece for the left-wing cohorts who dominate our culture, media and creative industries. This film was a violent insult upon virtually every ideal, virtue and truth we hold dear in Etruria. The way in which the film depicts the horrific oppression and terror inflicted on the main character, by her faithful Catholic mother and seemingly cowardly brother, let alone the hardly-seen but omnipresent Etrurian state is a vicious denounciation of the country." Occulus awarded the film a rating of 0/5.

Accolades

Soundtrack

Track listing

No.TitleLength
1."Alba"4:13
2."Buongiorno Vita"1:32
3."Addio amore mio"1:32
4."Aurelia"3:35
5."L'elmo Piumato"5:03
6."Vita"2:13
7."La Scelta"3:00
8."Solo e Circondato"2:42
9."Buonanotte Vita"2:42
10."Crepuscolo"6:20